Friday, October 22, 2010

Are you in Limerence? More about romantic love..

I can't believe with all my interest in love that I've never heard of "limerence" until now! I'm doing my "love research" (which basically means googling and reading) and I came across this article about romantic love explaining limerence. It's that "obsessive" infatuated feeling I was describing in my post yesterday.

The article says that Dorothy Tennov, in her book "Love and Limerence," describes these traits of limerence:

1) Intrusive thoughts about the object of passionate desire (the “limerent object” or LO)
2) Acute longing for reciprocation
3) Mood becomes dependent on the LO’s actions
4) Inability to react limerently towards more than one person at the same time (except when limerence is at low ebb)
5) Unsettling shyness and fear of rejection when in the presence of the LO
6) Intensification through adversity (up to a certain point)
7) Acute sensitivity to any act or condition that could be interpreted as favorable
8) An aching of the “heart” (a palpable heavy sensation in the front of the chest)
9) Buoyancy (a feeling of “walking on air”)
10) An intensity of feeling that leaves other concerns in the background
11) A remarkable ability to emphasize the positive traits of the LO, while rendering the LO’s negative traits as “endearing” to the point where it is perceived to be another positive trait.

That's IT! I know exactly that feeling! Another symptom of limerence is that it only exists if there is hope and uncertainty of a reciprocated relationship. I thought this was really interesting... especially the uncertainty part. This could explain why I seem to be more attracted (in this sort of desperate, limerent way) to someone when they are showing subtle signs of interest, yet still a little "hard to get."

Of course, if they reciprocate my limerence, all is euphoric and then I guess, we graduate into a more mature romantic love. (At least that's the idea...) But, what usually happens when I'm in "limerence" is that the LO (Limerence Object) may be attracted to me or even experience "lust" (another component of romantic love), but usually doesn't have the same degree of limerency (I'm making that word up) towards me. I remain hopeful and uncertain and "limerent" until I get it into my head that he's just not that into me. We will not go into the deep despair and late nights with Laptop Guy that follow...

I used to feel that if I didn't feel those "limerent" feelings, I wasn't really in love. But after reading more about it, I'm thinking it's really kind of unhealthy! I mean, it's exciting and wonderful when you feel like it's reciprocated, but hey... no one is really THAT good! And we're really just fooling ourselves and setting ourselves up for disappointment when we realize our LO is not who we're fantasizing they are. I know the times a guy has been in "limerence" with me, it's flattering, but I feel uncomfortable because I don't share the same intense feelings, and I'll typically avoid a romantic relationship. Maybe that's why it's better to keep our "limerence" to ourselves. Better to try and be "cool" rather than staring up at our LO with starry-eyed adoration.

Wanna read more about limerence? I found Tennov's limerence website with a free monthly newsletter.

What have been your experiences with limerence? Do you think it's a necessary part of romantic love?


rebecca @ altared spaces said...

Nick Yee's article, in which he talks about the "oatmeal" love seems the most realistic way to view a longterm relationship.

There was a time in my life when I worried my husband and I would run out of things to talk about. Now he regularly calls me to mention a story he heard on the radio he thinks I might like or reads me snippits from an article. This is the deepness of a "shared life". I happen to like it far more than limerence because drama can get pretty exhausting.

Anonymous said...

You'd think that if you really really like someone and are also sexually very attracted to them, then the limerence symptoms would happen automatically. For me at least it's not guaranteed//I'm thinking especially about one female friend I loved talking to & spending time with, and also felt such a strong desire for her it was almost painful**but didn't feel the limerence symptom's I've felt with others.

-The Phantom Commenter

Yvette said...

Rebecca, yes, the mature "oatmeal" love sounds very comforting and peaceful... much better than dramatic limerence!

Phantom Commenter, you sound concerned that you don't feel "limerence" but from what I've read about it, it's probably better that you don't feel it. It's what will make you crazy and put your LO up on a pedastal which is not where she should be. If you can find someone your physically and emotionally attracted to and not "blinded" by limerence, then maybe you've found real love...

Anonymous said...

To clarify, this woman and I weren't dating/romatically involved/having sex**we were "just friends" (both in other relationships) but with a powerful physical attraction between us.

Physical attraction + friendship doesn't seem to be enough to start the limerence cycle. I've had strong limerence connections to women where the physical attraction was there, certainly, but not as powerful as this case.

--The Phantom Commenter

Anonymous said...

I am in limerence and i hate it, the problem is that i cant get out of it...any ideas?

Yvette said...

How to get "out of limerence"? Well, I'm not expert, but maybe the ebooks found at might help.

I once read a book on how to fall out of love with someone. The main thing I remember about it was that you were supposed to remind yourself daily of all their bad qualities. That feels like a pretty negative approach to me. I think somehow you just have to take the LO off the pedestal, or maybe try raising yourself up so that you spend more time feeling good about yourself and less time thinking about your LO? Good luck!

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